TropEco Awards 2019

2019 TropEco Sustainability Awards

This award recognises a student who has made a major contribution to sustainability at JCU in one or more areas in 2019. This is the premier student award for sustainability achievements at JCU.


Trisha Striker

Trisha Striker completed a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placement with TropEco during first semester, assessing JCU’s procurement arrangements with regards to ethical purchasing. Her WIL project looked at how ethical purchasing could be a greater consideration in JCU’s procurement principles, policy and practice. Trisha reviewed relevant internal policies and procedures, as well as state and federal government policy and legislative instruments. She familiarised herself with the national Modern Slavery Act 2018, examining how it would affect JCU and the tertiary higher education sector more broadly. She consulted with key internal and external stakeholders as well as staff from other universities and not-for-profit organisations. She also made public depositions about Modern Slavery and procurement including presenting, on invitation, to sectoral procurement practitioners at the Australian Universities Procurement Network’s annual conference. On conclusion of her WIL subject, JCU’s Manager of Strategic Procurement invited Trisha to present to all procurement staff at JCU’s Townsville and Cairns campuses. She also did public presentations at the same time. As a direct result of Trisha’s advocacy, JCU is now in the process of developing a Social Procurement Framework which will guide JCU’s compliance with the Modern Slavery Act and bolster ethical procurement at the university. Trisha remains committed to this process and is a key member of the working group overseeing the framework’s development. She is commended for doing this on a voluntary basis, having finished her studies mid-year.

Highly commended

  • Sara Mohamed - for her efforts as a TropEco Intern and placement student in auditing JCU’s waste profile and services and providing recommendations resulting in savings of over $15,000 per year.

This award recognises a staff member who has made a major contribution to sustainability at JCU in one or more areas in 2019. This is the premier staff award for sustainability achievements at JCU. TropEco received a record-breaking 14 nominations for the Staff Excellence Award in 2019.


Clair Ryder, Academic Support Advisor,  Indigenous Education & Research Centre (IERC) – Townsville

Throughout 2019, Clair mobilised staff and students to create a happier, healthier and more productive workplace through a wide-range of initiatives. This has meant that everyone could be involved in a range of sustainability related undertakings. Her impact was one of sharing and "normalising" the sustainability message with the JCU community. In addition to tangible results, Clair’s biggest impact has been increased awareness and discussion of sustainability, the future, and the role each of us can play. She has offered a plethora of do-able approaches to reducing our footprints. Her teamwork has been shared across the university and broader community, spreading the discussion further. Specific initiatives include:
- Team champion for the Green Thumbs Green Impact team
- Re-design and maintenance of the IERC vegetable garden
- Installation and maintenance of a native bee-hive and insect hotels
- Organising waste free initiatives such as KeepCups for staff, Plastic Free Week, and making jam from 'ugly fruit' that was destined for landfill
- Running sessions to make bees wax wraps
- Ongoing engagement and support for sustainability activities with students and staff at the IERC and across the university.

Highly Commended

  • David Beitey – for his efforts in developing an e-waste reuse program at JCU.
  • Shannon Harmon - for her efforts as a sustainability champion in the library team.
  • Dr Taha Chaiechi– for her work in engagement and partnership development toward advancing the Sustainable Development Goals through planning excellence.

This award recognises an individual or group who has contributed to a more sustainable JCU through improved operations, processes or infrastructure.


David Beitey,  Online Technologies Manager, eResearch Centre, Research Infrastructure

For development and implementation of an eWaste recovery strategy. David identified the value of reuse of e-waste that was previously being sent for recycling at JCU. David has drawn attention to the issue at multiple levels, starting with dumpster-diving to recover materials and moving towards a systematic process at the university level. Potential disposers have been actively identified and some of these staff now reach out when they have serviceable equipment to be disposed of. David has worked with TropEco, the Estate Directorate, the Technology Solutions Directorate and other stakeholders to improve JCU policy and procedures, develop risk assessments, aiming to redirect all useful equipment before it is sent for eWaste recycling. Recovered equipment is already being repurposed by community groups, students, and staff who can make good use of it with over $12,000 of equipment recovered and reused to date.

Highly Commended

Student Transitions & Engagement Team

Tony Hewitt in Cairns and Meghan Boland in Townsville led the Student Transitions and Engagement Team to phase out the use of single-use water bottles and balloons for student events at the 2019 mid-year Orientation. Through the provision of reusable water bottles and provision of water refill stations, the team saved the use of over 2,000 single-use water bottles across the two campuses.

This award recognises an individual or group who have made an exceptional contribution to development of partnerships and engagement for sustainability at JCU and in the wider community.


Dr Taha Chaiechi, Senior Lecturer, College of Business, Law, and Governance.

Dr Taha Chaiechi has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the 2030 Agenda, and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. She has acted as an ambassador for, and a great advocate of promoting SDGs through her research, research profile, research activities, and engagement activities. In 2019 she expanded her activities around SDGs significantly. This included her proposal to the United Nations, UN-Habitat program, which was approved to hold an Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) in Cairns in November 2019. Urban Thinkers Campus is an exceptional model of engagement and is conceived as an open space for critical exchange between urban researchers, professionals, and government authorities. The event is structured in a way that promotes partnership and ties in closely with the New Urban Agenda of "The City We Need”. Taha’s UTC event is called “Urban Design, Economic Growth and the Jobs of the Future in the Tropics”.

Highly Commended

JCU Cairns Community of Gardeners Club

The JCU Cairns Community of Gardeners Club, known as COG, is the driving force behind partnerships and engagement at the Cairns campus Community Garden. The Club has over 100 members and during semester, hosts weekly workshops, regular weekend events, social gatherings and community BBQs at the garden, successfully engaging JCU students, staff and Cairns community members in all activities.

This award recognises an individual or team who have made outstanding contributions toward addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals through teaching, research or governance at JCU.

Winner (joint winners)

A/Prof Adrian Kuah, Associate Professor Business, JCU Singapore

Associate Professor Adrian Kuah is demonstrating outstanding leadership in advancing the TropEco agenda, focusing primarily on the challenges and opportunities in the Circular Economy and Sustainability (CES). He was actively involved in the delivery of the Strategic Research Investment Fund – Round 2 2018 application (CES Program), for which he rallied numerous Singaporean and Australian stakeholders in industries and governments to raise $300,000 in financial commitments. Adrian’s leadership is far reaching and enables collaborative research efforts across campus and disciplines in CASE, CSE and CBLG. Adrian is currently organizing for a CITBA Flagship program showcasing the CES research. In this space, he is providing thought leadership in material circular economy in wind turbine composite recovery and plastic bottle recycling, bio-circular economy in food nutrient, and consumer perception and values toward the circular economy. He has also engaged with and provided expertise on the Smart Island initiative in French Polynesia, leading him to be granted an adjunct Professorship at Tahiti Business School.

Alice Lutcheford and Bronwyn Mathiesen

Bronwyn and Alice have championed the promotion of the UN SDGs and JCU’s efforts toward the goals with a weekly series of features on the Sustainable Development Goals through the library info screens, through blogs and social media. The campaign showcases and highlights current Research and Learning/Teaching activities that are being undertaken at JCU and how they correspond to individual UN SDG's. They have also been involved in mapping of the SDGs across research at JCU. [email protected] is one of the main sources of information, in addition to the JCU Research Profiles, State of the Tropics reports and key personal knowledge/ contacts/ awareness of Liaison Librarians. Alice has also been actively involved in the Sustainable Development Working Group and acts as a champion for promotion of the SDGs.

Award holder